I feel like since we are going to be finalizing the adoptions of both of our littlest boys in a few weeks, I should start from the beginning and explain how we got here. I can't really remember all of what I documented about these adoptions and I really like to have it all down to refer back to and to share with those of you who are not in my "real life" circle of friends and who just found me in cyber space. I am willing to disclose a bit more now that we are down to the wire, but will still be keeping the details to a minimum...
In April of 2011 (ironically within days of when our "baby" was placed in foster care) I photographed a couple of children who I fell in love with. They were foster children. I wanted them. Plain and simple. Sean and I knew we wanted to grow our family more. We had discussed adopting again, but financially didn't know how that would be realistic for us right now. We discussed doing foster care and just "seeing what happened", but never acted upon it. I felt God leading us there through some new connections with people at that time. Upon meeting these 2 young children, I called Sean. Like while still in the car at the photoshoot. I told him that I wanted these kids. I was crying, it was a bit dramatic. Shocker coming from me, right?! Ha. To my surprise, he was receptive. Not gung ho like me, but willing to listen and entertain the idea. That's all it took and I was on the phone within a couple days setting up a time to get information on becoming a licensed foster family so we could adopt these 2 kids. Little did I know, it doesn't really work that way. I learned quickly that it may not happen smoothly, but I was willing to do whatever to at least try to get these children.
Within a month we were in the informational meeting and we were both convinced that this was a road we wanted to take. We were scared and nervous, but it felt right. We scheduled our training to begin at the end of the summer last year.
In PS-MAPP (training for foster families) classes that lasted 10 weeks, things changed. We really evaluated what type of child would be best for our family considering all factors. We discovered that the 2 kiddos (one of which ended up being reunited with her family anyway) may not be the best fit for us.
Only a few weeks into PS-MAPP, a little 2 1/2 year old boy who needed a home was brought to our attention. We saw his picture and oh my, he was ADORABLE. So naturally we were intrigued. We were told he had "extensive medical needs". That's it. He was on the website under the list of "Waiting Children" and so we inquired. Technically, you aren't able to get information about these children unless you are already a licensed family, but somehow the fact that our homestudy still wasn't complete must have slipped through the cracks and we were provided with lots of details about this little guy. Upon learning of his medical needs, we were scared off a bit. Not that we weren't intersted, we just hadn't considered taking this type of thing on. Sean was initially like, "no way" that's too much. Then we read on...
There was a list of things that they wanted this little guy's adoptive family to have...
One parent in the medical field...check
One stay at home parent...check
Within driving distance to U of I Hospitals...check
Not a resident of Iowa City...check
Large support system...check
Only children in the home older than said 2 1/2 year old...check
Ummmm...ok God, we get it. We ARE the family for this one...we just knew it. So the minute our homestudy was complete, we sent it with a cover letter explaining why we felt that we were the best fit as a Mommy and Daddy for this little 2 1/2 year old bundle of joy. :) We waited...
THE DAY AFTER our license was approved, we got a call. It was for a baby, 10 months old, lot's of medical/mental health needs. Again...mental health needs? We never considered or thought about the possibility of having to deal with that. We still had that little now 3 year old in our hearts. We contacted his caseworker and inquired as to whether a decision had been made. To make a long story short, we were pretty much told we should take other children at this time and the chances of getting this little guy weren't great. Sadly, we accepted this knowing there was a possibility that we may still get the opportunity to raise him, but it wasn't likely. We met the sweet 10 month old bundle and FELL IN LOVE. We were smitten. We were scared. We didn't know if we would get to adopt him or not, but we were willing to take the risk and fall head over heels in love with him. We did. On Christmas Day he came to live with us. Best.Gift.Ever.
2 weeks later, we got the call that sent us into a tailspin. "Oops, we do believe you actually might be the best candidate for that little 3 year old." Oh my, panic set in. Well God, you've opened this door for us, we will walk through and explore. We did. We fell in love again. To make a long story short again, the little 3 year old love was placed in our home on March 8th.
Since then, things have been a WHIRLWIND! We have had an average of 6 appointments per week between these 2, we bought a house, moved, had a hospital stay with our middle child for a week (while remodeling our home), Tate graduated from preschool and started Kindergarten, our 3 year old started preschool, in the midst of all of that our baby started to crawl and eat solids and grow and change and develop more rapidly than we (or any of his doctors and therapists) ever dreamed and now we are in the midst of getting things prepared to finalize the adoptions of these 2 amazing boys who in our hearts and minds have already been finalized as our children. Also, we have decided to renew our license so we are in the midst of trying to get all of our necessary hours under our belts that we need to renew. It's been THE CRAZIEST year of our lives!
Can't wait to share their faces and more details with you all in a few short weeks!